‘Chicago Fire’: Fans Are Devastated By This Character’s Death in the Season 8 Premiere

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Chicago Fire Season 8 premiere.

Chicago Fire fans knew it was going to be bad. But few were prepared for the devastating loss of a beloved original character in the season 8 premiere. 

When the credits rolled on the season 7 finale, the Firehouse 51 crew was battling a massive fire in a mattress factory. Nearly every major character was in serious jeopardy, with the boiler in the basement seconds away from exploding. Clearly, this wasn’t going to end well, especially since co-creator Derek Haas had already warned viewers that someone wouldn’t make it out alive. And now we know who didn’t survive the disaster. 

Otis was badly burned in the blaze 

Otis and Crus looking shocked
Yuri Sardarov as Brian “Otis” Zvonecek and Joe Minoso as Joe Cruz in Chicago Fire | Adrian Burrows/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The season 8 premiere began just moments after the end of season 7. Most of the firefighters were able to escape to safety in another room, but Brian “Otis” Zvonecek (Yuri Sardarov) didn’t make it in time. However, he was able to send out a distress signal. 

Cruz (Joe Minoso) discovered Otis’s badly burnt body. The severely injured firefighter was rushed to the hospital, where doctors said there was nothing they could do to save him. But as he was dying, Otis was able to utter a few last words to his friend Cruz, saying in Russian, “Brother, I will be with you, always.” 

‘Chicago Fire’ fans are devastated 

After Otis’s death, fans flooded Sardarov’s Instagram to express their disappointment and outrage. 

“I’m not emotionally ready 😭😭😭😭 love you @yursar” wrote one. 

“Nooooooooo!!!! Come Back, Otis!!!” another commented. 

“I have never cried so hard over a show! Miss you!” added a fan. 

“Bullsh*t,” wrote one viewer who clearly wasn’t happy with the direction writers decided to take the show. 

Sardarov has a poetic response to his character’s exit

Sardarov addressed his character’s exit from Chicago Fire by sharing a poem titled “Adieu” on Instagram. “Thank you for the greatest 7 years of my life…” he captioned the poem, which read: 

“A fond farewell to Otis/he’ll forever be my friend/And to all of you that knew him/and loved him to the end/He had a bushy mustache/and a soul patch to boot/It’s never really over/he’ll always love you too.”

Sardarov has appeared on Chicago Fire since season 1, so his death is a major blow. Several other actors from the Chicago dramas took to social media to support their colleague. 

“Love you brother🦄” wrote Taylor Kinney, who plays Lieutenant Kelly Severide on Chicago Fire, while Chicago Med’s Torrey DeVitto responded with a heart emoji. 

“🔥❤️👏🏽” wrote Monica Raymund, who played Gabriela “Gabby” Dawson on seven seasons of Chicago Fire. 

“To @yursar, thank you for everything for so many years.  You shone in every scene… comedy, drama, action, romance, suspense… you did it all, while being generous and hilarious and wonderful.  Love you, brother! Look forward to much, much more,” Haas tweeted after the episode aired. 

How will Cruz respond?

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We’ll never forget you, brother. ❤️ #ChicagoFire

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While everyone on Chicago Fire will be feeling the pain of Otis’s death, fans are especially worried about his close friend and roommate Cruz. Haas said that the rest of the season will address how different people respond to tragedy, and that the journey is going to be particularly tough for Cruz. 

“It’s gonna be a rough road,” Haas told Us Weekly. “He’s gonna deal with it, honestly, in a cycle of emotions, in a cycle of different ways and it’s gonna last a while … So I think we’re gonna see those kind of things and not just with Cruz, with other characters too.”